2 Arrested For Smuggling Ambergris Worth Rs 1.1 Crore

Story Highlights
  • 2 men were arrested by the Pimpri-Chinchwad police crime branch.
  • They were smuggling Ambergris, or “whale vomit” used for making high-end perfumes.
  • The seized substance is valued at Rs 1.1 crore.

Pune: The Pimpri Chinchwad Police’s Crime Branch has arrested 2 persons and seized at least 550 grams of ambergris, also known as “whale vomit”, worth over Rs 1.1 crore which they had smuggled and were trying to sell in Pune. A team from Unit 1 of the Crime Branch had received intel on December 6th that a person was coming to an area near Moshi Tollbooth to sell ambergris. A trap was set up and a decoy customer was sent to purchase the substance.

John Sunil Sathe (33) was then detained and 550 grams of a red-brownish substance was recovered from his possession, which upon preliminary test conducted by forest department officials turned out to be ambergris, said police. Sathe was then arrested. Following interrogation, police then arrested Ajit Hukumchand Bagmar (61), a resident of Karanja in Nashik, from whom Sathe had bought the ambergris. The Crime Branch has also launched a search for a third suspect who is said to have sent the ambergris to Bagmar by courier. An FIR in the case was registered at Bhosri MIDC police station under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Ambergris, which means grey amber in French, is a waxy substance that originates from the digestive system of the protected Sperm Whales and is thus referred to as “whale vomit”. The rare item is extremely expensive and is used for making high-end perfumes, and is thus sometimes referred to as floating gold. The Sperm Whales are a protected species under Schedule 2 of the Wildlife Protection Act and possession or trade of any of its by-products, including ambergris, is illegal.

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